Here's a concept... the facts do matter. In fact, the facts often trump everything else.

The New York Times was a little slow on the uptake, but the Boston Globe — owned by The New York Times — got right on the job Wednesday suggesting in a front page story that the important fact about the Sandy Berger (search) story is the timing, not the facts.

That, my friends, is what's known in the crook trade as stealing in plain sight.

Did Berger purloin secret documents? Did he stuff them in his clothes, his pants, his socks and then take them out of the National Archives (search)?

These are facts that matter.

The story is not when we learned of these facts.

Did the Bush administration sit on this prize egg like a self-satisfied hen waiting for it to hatch at the right moment? Whatever.

What matters is did Berger actually do such a dopey thing, evidently forgetting people at the Archives watch when you're left alone with their secret documents.

Our reporter double-checked her two sources twice, who both said they saw him putting notes, papers, whatever in his socks.

Is there any more damning evidence of knowledge of one's own guilt than transporting an item in your socks?

Outrageous... but OK, let's toss it out for just a second.

Can somebody explain stuffing papers down his pants?

I can see absent-mindedly folding a paper up and sliding it into a jacket pocket. Jacket pockets are where all sorts of papers go to die.

I can see forgetting putting a paper in a briefcase or a leather folio, but... papers down the pants or papers in the socks?

Is there a reasonable explanation for this that I'm missing?

There isn't. Berger's lawyer just plain denies it, saying the charge is "ridiculous."

Yes, it is ridiculous. That's why the facts are more important than the timing.

That's My Word.

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